At halftime of Monday night’s game, Mt. Hebron football coach Shawn Frederick challenged both his offensive and defensive lines.
The Vikings led by two at the half, but Frederick felt his team left points on the board. In response, Mt. Hebron dominated the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball in the second half, forcing four second-half turnovers. The offensive line opened up consistent running lanes and the defensive front brought constant pressure in a 23-7 win over Glenelg.
“The message was that they weren’t playing up to their level,” Frederick said. “I put a challenge on them that this team goes through the lines both offensively and defensively. Our big thing is 1/11th, because there’s 11 guys on the field. We tell everybody, ‘You do your job; you do your 1/11th.’ I told them up front that they weren’t doing it in the first half. That was the message at halftime. It was challenging them that they’ve got to do better and lead this team to victory in the second half. So we definitely stepped up.”
Glenelg started the second half with the ball but didn’t hold it long. On the fourth play of the drive, Gladiators quarterback Zach LaFountain was picked off by senior defensive back Zack Goodwin, setting Mt. Hebron (3-0) up in Glenelg territory.
Fifteen plays later, running back Coleman Hallums capped off the 41-yard drive on fourth-and-goal with a 5-yard score for his second touchdown of the game.
“That’s what we do. That’s our bread and butter,” Hallums said. “All credit to our offensive line, we really can’t do anything without them.”
The Vikings’ control of the game grew from there. On Glenelg’s next possession, LaFountain was picked off by Goodwin once again, setting Mt. Hebron up in Gladiators territory.
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“Short-term memory is always key,” Goodwin said after allowing a touchdown earlier in the game. “I watched a lot of film, the quarterback can obviously throw the ball and they have some good receivers, but we knew what they were going to do. At halftime, coach gave us a speech on what we needed to fix. We talked it out as defensive backs and then we just adjusted in the second half and just went crazy.”
Once again, Mt. Hebron made Glenelg pay for the turnover. This time, the Vikings went eight plays for 48 yards, all on the ground.
Mt. Hebron continued to utilize outside toss and sweep plays running behind the offensive line of left tackle Logan Ruehl, left guard Rohaeb Shoaib, center Jack Martini, right guard Myon Davis and right tackle Dan Harrington, as well as in-line tight end Tarek Lewis. Senior Aidan Hauf finished off that drive early in the fourth quarter with a 7-yard scamper toward the outside.
“It’s so much fun,” Hauf said. “Our motto going into the season was ‘One team, one family.’ We’re one team, one unit, we move as one. We get down and gritty and run the ball down their throats. We want to take their soul in the second half. The first half, they were still in it. We had a couple of miscommunication plays. In the second half, we tightened it up. That’s our bread and butter like Coleman said.”
That upfront dominance showed at times in the first half. Nick Duda pressured LaFountain leading to an intentional grounding call in the end zone and a safety. Two possessions later, Mt. Hebron executed its longest drive of the game going 90 yards in 10 plays.
Hallums closed it with a 24-yard score on fourth-and-12 for a 9-0 lead. Glenelg responded on its ensuing drive as LaFountain connected with Cole Renehan from 19 yards out on a double move. That would be the Gladiators’ last score of the game, as injuries and mistakes began to cascade in the second half.
“It’s difficult, but still my hats off to them continuing to come back every drive or even a play later at some points,” Glenelg coach William Bell said as his team fell to 2-1. “They gutted it out tonight and Mt. Hebron did a really good job tonight with the run. They kept the ball on their half of the field and did some things really well.”